A UK airport has tested a new video surveillance system that can tag suspicious individuals and then track their movements across multiple cameras over a dispersed area.
Security company Ipsotek recently performed a trial of its new Tag and Track system at Manchester Airport with support from BAE Systems and Kingston University.
The system has two main functions: for ‘forensic analysis’ to retrace a person’s steps after they have left a site; or real-time analysis for alerting security to immediate or imminent threats.
Speaking to The Engineer, Dr Boghos Boghossian, technical director at Ipsotek, said: ‘When a requirement comes up to trace someone, you don’t actually need to go back to the video anymore because the video has already been analysed and all the information is stored in an easily accessible way.
‘Say you’re interested in where someone entered the network and where and when they left — you click on them on the screen and the system goes back to the database and creates a full route for you immediately.’
As well as tracing people retrospectively, the system can work in real time by tagging and tracking people after passport scanning or when they exhibit certain suspicious behaviours.
For example, it can immediately find the current location of a passenger who unpredictably changes to a potential high threat status — say, when someone collects suspicious hand luggage from the rear of the security baggage scanner and disappears into the crowd, losing sight of the operator in the control room.
Despite the seemingly intrusive nature of automatically following individuals, Boghossian played down privacy concerns, saying that the greater amount of data and cross-talk between cameras actually means less chance of ‘false alarms’.
He added: ‘We’re not doing anything that’s not being done today already. In any control room, the operators spend 90 per cent of their time tracking suspects — that’s their job. All we’re doing is assisting them and giving them the capability to do it quicker and better.’